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Strengthening Institutional Capacity

As more and more organisations respond to the growing call and expanding funding for Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA), there is an acknowledgement that individual technical capacity must be supported by organisational structures, systems, policies and procedures that improve readiness to design and implement effective CVA. To contribute to the institutionalisation of cash CaLP has developed an Organisational Cash Readiness Process to help help a range of committed organisations achieve the practical objectives of the Global Framework

CaLP provides three products for this process: the Organisational Cash Readiness Tool (OCRT), a set of Instructions for using the OCRT, and the Organisational Cash Readiness (OCR) Process Guide. The latter is a set of detailed notes and templates to guide the OCR process facilitator through the three- to six-month OCR assessment process.


Organisational Cash Readiness Process

The OCR process is part of the larger process of strengthening organization capacity and readiness for CVA. The basic OCR process has five main steps, as depicted in the figure below. Three of these steps are meetings.


An organization that decides to go through this process should appoint a process facilitator—either a staff member with this mandate or an external advisor/consultant—who coordinates with leadership, organises the meetings, communicates about the process within the organisation, and provides instructions to participants in the process. Some organizations may want to appoint a small OCR process facilitation team versus one individual, to encourage broad organisational engagement with the process, and to bring together the right facilitation skills.

The process participants should be informed and empowered representatives from each segment of the organization. The overall process will benefit when senior leaders participate themselves, versus them delegating that role to others. The process participants and facilitators form together the OCR process team.

To download OCR Process Guide, click here.

Organisational Cash Readiness Tool (OCRT)

The OCRT is comprised of an Instructions booklet, tool worksheets for use in scoring and graphing results respectively, and a recommendations matrix. Assessment is done in four categories of organisational capacity, each with a series of criteria and indicators that consider sub-functions or processes to be evaluated. The OCRT’s four top-level categories are:

  1. Leadership and resourcing;
  2. Organisational systems and policies;
  3. Staff CVA technical competency; and
  4. External engagement

As data is entered with for each indicator a series of graphs illustrates the results for each level of assessment, culminating in a summary bar graph such as seen below:


Discussion and scoring on each of the criteria allows the organisation to determine gaps and make recommendations for building the required capacity. The OCR Process encourages organisations to articulate a comprehensive Action Plan that provides a path for the organisation to improve its Cash Readiness.

To download OCRT Instructions, click here.

To download the OCRT Scoring & Results Worksheets, click here.

Intended Use of the Tool

The OCRT is intended as a self-assessment tool for organizations to identify gaps and required capacity building for CVA, and to measure progress against initial or target benchmarks.

Single organisations of any type or size should be able to use the OCRT, and can interpret it as needed for the specific context being assessed, by for example defining ‘senior management’ as HQ or country office leadership as appropriate, or defining ‘systems’ as global processes or those at field level. Targets/benchmarks can also be set by for example defining ‘some/most/all staff’, or determining which scores are expected at each point in the capacity building process.

A thorough and valid capacity assessment is most likely with broad engagement from all staff. Relevant expertise and needs likely exist right across all levels and functions of an organisation, not just in the program teams but in finance, HR, logistics/procurement and IT, so members of those teams should be involved along with management.

Organisations can lead the process themselves, or use a facilitated process involving external consultants to support preparation, learning and action planning. While it should not require ‘CVA experts’, a good understanding of CVA is required at least by the process leaders as they present the tool, and facilitation skills are necessary for the workshop/discussion stages. Moreover, effective use of the OCRT requires concentrated preparation before its use.

The OCRT was designed for use in a series of collaborative workshops with time for data-gathering, review and feedback in between, following the OCR Process. Data make the scores and subsequent plans evidence-based. Group discussions during workshops bring out valuable information and prepare the way for action plans that respond to issues across an organisation.  

For more information, contact CaLP's Capacity Building Team at training@cashlearning.org